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Secret Slow Cooker Chili (shhhh it's vegan)

Sure you can add meat but you don't have to! I promise this vegan chili is perfect for everyone and all the veggies almost disappear leaving a seemingly traditional chili taste and feel. This will FILL up your slow cooker, so make sure to use a full sized one or adjust measurements.
Prep Time 8 hrs
Cook Time 8 hrs
Servings 8


  • Food processor or blender
  • Large/full sized slow cooker


  • 1 pound bag of dry kidney beans
  • 1 28 oz can of diced tomatoes preferably without salt
  • 1 12 oz jar of favorite salsa mild to hot depending on your desired level of heat
  • 1 10 oz bag of frozen or fresh butternut squash
  • 4 carrots
  • 1 onion diced
  • 1 to half a small batch of kale i have also used pre-cut bagged kale
  • 1 & 1/2 tsp cumin, chili powder, paprika, dried oregano
  • 1 tbs sea or pink salt plus another 1/2 teaspoon


  • The night prior to cooking your chili cover beans with an abundance of water and leave overnight to soak. You can leave on counter with towel or lid over the bowl.
  • When ready to cook rinse beans well
  • Add beans to slow cooker
  • Add can of tomatoes
  • Fill empty can with filtered water and add
  • Add 1 tablespoon of salt (a pinch less if can of tomatoes has salt)
  • Turn slow cooker on low and top with lid
  • Rinse carrots and kale
  • Using your food processor (or blender) blend carrots until they are finely diced
  • Add carrots to the slow cooker
  • Tear leaves of kale off stems and blend until finely chopped and add to chili
  • Dice onion
  • Add onion, bag of butternut squash, and salsa
  • Add 1 tsp of cumin, chili powder, paprika, oregano and stir well to incorporate
  • Add remaining half tsp of salt, cumin, chili powder, paprika, oregano
  • Stir again and make sure all the beans are completely submerged under the liquid
  • Cook on low for 8 hours


This will fill up your 8 qt slow cooker. If yours is a smaller size you will need to adjust your measurements. 
Never consume undercooked beans. Make sure the beans have 8 hours to cook, if short on time you can add the veggies a little later as long as they have 6 or so hours. . 
I believe using dry beans is essential for this chili so don't substitute for canned but read on below for some tips if you forget to soak. 
I know the butternut squash seems a little off putting but the flavor blends right in and creates a think creamy chili. 
Yes, of course you can add meat.  Just brown separately with the diced onion and a little garlic. You will need to remove the squash or some of the veggies because the slow cooker would overflow otherwise. 
The kale is somewhat visible so if you think that would turn off little eyes then use less or just skip and add in another carrot or a red bell pepper.